I’ve got a treat for you this Halloween. Something that will serve you better than all those Snickers, Gummy-things or Slow Pokes will.
I often have clients tell me that they don’t “feel” their feelings. They prefer it this way, actually. They’d prefer to eat them…or drink them…or shop them….you get the picture.
If that’s you, you’re in for a treat.
Today, I’m sharing three ways to process your emotion rather than eating all those left-over pieces of candy the Trick-or-Treaters didn’t touch.
Here are three tricks to processing emotion:
1. The trick is to treat your impulse/urge as a healthy adult.
When you catch yourself reaching for snacks/wine/Netflix absent-mindedly, stop and make a deal with yourself. “I can enjoy this treat fully if I choose to, but first I’m going to process my emotion.”
2. The trick is to treat your emotions with intentional focus.
Go somewhere without distractions and get in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and scan through your body. What do you notice? Tightness in your chest? Racing heart? Shallow breath? Pins and needles across your shoulders?
Physiological sensations in the body like these are caused when our thinking releases neurotransmitters into our bloodstream. As they travel through the body, they cause thousands (or billions in some cases!) of chemical reactions to occur, resulting in sensations that the brain labels as a feeling.
The better and faster you get at identifying them, the higher the odds of being able to address the thoughts causing them.
3. The trick is to treat your thoughts with curiosity.
As you observe your emotion in your body, you’ll likely begin to “hear” your thoughts as well. Eavesdrop on your brain with a little curiosity, and without judgment. What do you notice? What’s it offering you?
When we experience urges and impulses, the lower brain is the most active. This what I call the “child” part of the brain…because in moments like these, it’s irrational and acts a bit like an overtired three year old throwing a tantrum on your front porch! It will tell you anything to get what it wants.
“But I WANT it.”
“I deserve it.”
“My husband’s eaten three of them already.”
“If I don’t get one now, they’ll all be gone.”
“One won’t matter.”
What it probably won’t tell you, is any of the logical things that are forward-thinking:
“This won’t help me reach that goal.”
“Laughing & running with my grandkids is more satisfying than 30 seconds of chewing on something.”
“If I eat one, I’ll likely eat five.”
“I can go to the store and buy one any time I want. It’s okay if they all get eaten.”
If eating/drinking/binging your feelings has become the norm for you, you may want to jot down the thoughts your brain offers up during an urge.
This way you can look at it again later when you’re feeling more balanced emotionally and in control of your actions.
(Remember, when emotion is high, logic is low!)
Look at each thought and assess whether they’re true.
Start a list of thoughts that are true, which you already believe (such as the ones above), and read them regularly to remind yourself and strengthen that belief.
If you need some extra help believing new things, check out this blog post to learn more.
Need even more help with that?
If you’re new to “feeling” things or want help gaining control of your emotions and urges, I’d be happy to help. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation call with me and I’ll show you how coaching can help you gain control of your mind and behaviors so you can step into the life you were created for.